Mar 112014
 
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The first face of Elise, 1957-63.

Alexander’s Elise is the sometimes overlooked “middle sister” of their family of glamour dolls. Her sweet charm makes her a favorite of many collectors, however, and while she is most often found as a bride or ballerina, her day dresses and evening gowns are worth the search. Many of her outfits match Cissy and Cissette outfits. In 1958, Elise was sold as “Sweet 16″ in the FAO Schwarz catalog.

The second face of Elise, 1962-64.

Body Construction
The first version of her, manufactured from 1957 to 1963, is 16.5″ tall and hard plastic with vinyl arms. She is jointed at the neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and ankles. She has sleep eyes with brush lashes and a glued-on wig. In 1962, Elise grew to 17″ tall with a vinyl head, although the hard plastic version continued to be produced. In 1962 and ’63, some versions of Elise were made with the pouty Marybel head mold, also in vinyl (see photo below). Elise’s jointed ankles enable her to wear flats, high heels or ballet slippers.

The hard plastic Elise head and body molds were also used for other dolls, including redhead Maggie Mixup in 1961, and Queen Elizabeth II, Scarlett O’Hara and Renoir Portrait in 1963.

Elise disappeared from the catalog in 1965 and returned in 1966 in a redesigned version without the joints at her knees, elbows and ankles. Elise dolls have continued to be produced occasionally throughout the years since.

The third face of Elise, 1962-63.

Markings
Elise is marked “Alexander” on the back of her head, below the hairline, and “Mme. Alexander” on her back.

Clothing
Visit these pages for descriptions and photos of Elise’s clothing:

Photo courtesy of eBay seller luving_dolls



Copyright 1999-2014 by Zendelle Bouchard

Sep 062013
 
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Cissette’s Outfits 1957-58
and
Cissette’s Outfits 1959-63


Two basic Cissette dolls from different years – the blonde is stock #700; the redhead is #900. Click on a small photo to see a larger version.
_700a (2K) _700c (2K) _700d (4K) _900a (2K) _900c (4K)
Photos courtesy of eBay seller your-favorite-doll.

Cissette arrived two years after Cissy as the smaller, cuter and more affordable version of Alexander’s popular glamour doll. The same mold was also used for other dolls during the Cissette period, including Sleeping Beauty (identifiable by her flat feet), Margot (with heavy eye makeup and upswept hair) and Jacqueline (heavy eye makeup and sidepart hairstyle). The mold continued to be used for the Portrette series and other dolls in the ’60s, and is still in use today. Cissette was reintroduced for collectors in the late ’90s.

Body Construction
Cissette is all hard plastic, jointed at the neck, shoulders, hips and knees, with high heel feet. She has sleep eyes with molded lashes, with painted lashes underneath, one-stroke eyebrows, and pierced ears. Her synthetic wig is styled in a curly flip with bangs, and was available in blonde, brunette or redhead. A few fancy dressed dolls came with upswept hairdos. A rare version of Cissette from the early ’60s had a bald head with interchangeable wigs.

Identifying Cissette
Trying to date a Cissette doll can be challenging. Here are some clues:
Eyelids: 1957 dolls have beige eyelids, in 1958 they were pale pink and thereafter were peach.
Wigs: 1957 and ’58 wigs were made with three rows of stitching; after that they used zigzag stitching. A few fancy wigs had three rows on some later dolls.
Fingernails: had polish starting sometime in 1961.
Eye weights: dolls from 1957 and part of ’58 had heavy weights on their sleep eyes. Smaller weights were used thereafter.
Clothing: Dresses in 1957 and ’58 had bodice darts; in 1959, they did not. Thereafter bodice darts were only used for evening wear.

_cetteslip1 (2K) _cetteslip2 (3K) _cetteslip3 (3K)
Clothing
Cissette was sold as a dressed doll or in a basic chemise or slip. Like her big sister Cissy, she often wore royal outfits and wedding gowns, but day dresses and ballet costumes were common as well. Many of her outfits matched Cissy and Elise clothing. See the Outfits 1957-58 and Outfits 1959-63 pages for more information.

Copyright 2006-13 by Zendelle Bouchard.

Jan 162013
 
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Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls, Inc. is best known for their 4.5″ to 7″ bisque (and later, hard plastic) dolls, mostly of storybook characters, dressed in an endless variety of outfits and sold in polka dot boxes from the ’30s through the ’50s. But the company sold lots of other dolls, and this page is about them.

For details on the storybook dolls, see the Nancy Ann Storybook dolls page and the Nancy Ann Storybook series page.


_baby1 (1K) _aobaby (4K) The babies are some of the earliest dolls sold by the company. They were purchased from other companies and dressed by Nancy Ann. Many were made in Japan. These painted bisque babies are 3.5″ and 4.5″ tall.


_pink1 (3K) _pink2 (3K) After having great success with the Storybook Dolls for a number of years, in 1952, Nancy Ann branched out to other types of dolls with the Style Show series. These dolls are 18″ tall, all hard plastic with stunning outfits. These dolls are unmarked and difficult to identify unless wearing a documented outfit. They were only produced for a few years.
Photos courtesy of eBay seller luving_dolls


_red1 (4K) _yellow1 (2K) _face (4K) In 1953, the 8″ hard plastic toddler, Muffie, was introduced. She was similar to Vogue’s very popular Ginny doll. Muffie’s head was made of vinyl beginning in 1957 and she was produced into the 1960s. She had an extensive selection of extra outfits available.
Photos courtesy of eBay seller your-favorite-doll.


_basic1 (4K) _basic2 (5K) Debbie was a slightly larger version of Muffie at 10.5″ tall. She was a hard plastic walking doll. Some Debbies were made with vinyl heads as well.
Photos courtesy of eBay seller your-favorite-doll.
_basic3 (4K) _debbie3902 (6K)
_green1 (2K) _mnafull (2K) _lmna1 (4K) _tagged (3K) 10.5″ Miss Nancy Ann was the company’s answer to Ideal’s popular Little Miss Revlon. An 8″ Little Miss Nancy Ann was also made. These dolls are all vinyl with mature figures and high heeled feet. They had extra boxed outfits available. For more information, go to the Miss Nancy Ann and Little Miss Nancy Ann pages.

In the late fifties, Miss Abbott became ill with cancer and the company struggled to keep up production. She died in 1964, and her partner, Mr. Rowland, who was also ill, was unable to keep the company afloat. Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls closed its doors in 1965. The assets of the company were sold to Albert Bourla, who produced a series of Muffie Around the World dolls in 1967. Aline, a low-quality Barbie-type doll, and her little sister Missie were produced during the ’70s. Mr. Bourla owned the company for nearly forty years before selling it (on eBay!) to the current owners, Claudette Buehler and Delene Budd. The company has undergone a renaissance with a new sculpt by Dianna Effner in the tradition of the original Storybook dolls.





Copyright 2004-2013 by Zendelle Bouchard.

Nov 052012
 
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Swingtime doll by Jolly Toys

Swingtime doll by Jolly Toys.

Photo courtesy of King Auctions. Check out their eBay listings.

Little information is available on this company. They made a variety of vinyl dolls, including high-heeled glamour dolls, babies and toddlers, starting about 1960, and continuing into the ’70s. The company apparently had some business arrangement with Nasco as well as Jolly, as dolls marked “Kaysam” have been found in Jolly and Nasco boxes.

Click on a small photo to view a larger version.

Swingtime (pictured above) is a 16″ vinyl toddler with rooted brown hair wearing an eyelet dress. She comes packaged in a 26″ tall red and yellow plastic swing set.

Glamour doll by Kaysam Kaysam glamour dolls were made in 15″, 20″ and 24″ sizes. They have a unique face that is easily recognizable once you have seen a few of them, with a long neck. They have a slim body which is more like Mattel’s Barbie than like other glamour dolls their size. Learn more about the doll pictured at left here. Photo courtesy of Sheryl Schmidt.

Hello Dolly (1964) is a 20″ high-heeled adult figured glamour doll. She has variegated strawberry blonde hair, and wears a long slim gown with a design of flocked glitter on the front panel, and a feathered headband. She is meant to look as Carol Channing did in the Broadway show; but it is not a portrait of the star. A regular doll from the line was used, marked 1961. There was also a Barbie-sized version of this doll, but she was made by Allied-Grand.
Doll in blue taffeta dress by Jolly Toys The glamour dolls marketed under the Jolly Toys name look more like Ideal’s Revlon doll and other late fifties high heeled dolls. Learn more about this doll here.

Vintage Judy baby doll by Kaysam Judy is an 11″ all vinyl bent leg baby doll. 1963.

Vintage Jean doll by Kaysam Jean is an 11.5″ toddler, who appears to have been made with the same head as Judy. 1963.

Robin is a toddler doll with straight platinum blonde hair with bangs. She wears a white jumper with red, white and blue striped blouse, white socks and red shoes. Her box is red, white and blue striped to match.

Vintage Kaysam 16 inch Nurse doll Vintage Kaysam 16 Vintage Kaysam 16 This 16″ Nurse came packaged in a gift set with a nurse’s bag, hypodermic needle (way out of scale) and bandaids, plus a cocktail dress and stole with corsage. The same doll was also sold in a different gift set wearing a pants outfit. 1963.

Cutie-Pie is another platinum blonde toddler.

Jinx is a knockoff of Vogue’s Brikette doll. She is 21″ tall with carrot red or black hair and a watermelon smile.

Swiss Miss and Swiss Lad dolls by Jolly Toys Swiss Miss and Swiss Lad dolls hang tag by Jolly Toys Swiss Miss and Swiss Lad were made as advertising tie-ins to Swiss Miss Cocoa. They are each 14″ tall. Swiss Miss is marked “Jolly Toys Inc. 1962″. A cloth Swiss Miss doll was produced in 1978, but probably by a different company. Photos courtesy of eBay seller myoldkentuckyhome.

Pride is a 6.5″ (Dawn-sized) fashion doll with long straight hair, who came packaged with an outfit. Packages containing two outfits (no doll) were also sold separately.

Grandma is 20″ tall, with a high-heeled glamour body, but an older lady’s face with gray hair. She has been found in Jolly marked boxes as well as Royal boxes, with the name Grannykins. These companies may have been related. A very rare Grandpa doll was made as well. For more info, go to the Grandma page.

Nikki is 12″ tall, platinum blonde and has an unusual expression with a puckered mouth. She looks like she is about to say something. She was sold in various outfits and hairstyles.

Golden Book Dolls is a series of dolls representing characters from Little Golden Books, each doll was packaged together with a book. Heidi is 14″ tall with blonde hair and a Swiss style outfit similar to that worn by Swiss Miss but with golden lacing on the front of the vest, and her blue skirt is a plain, not print fabric. Other dolls in the series were Hansel and Gretel (sold separately), Cinderella, Nurse Nancy, Little Red Riding Hood and My Dolly and Me.

12″ Bride doll has dark brunette hair and has painted side-glancing eyes. She somewhat resembles Horsman’s Mary Poppins doll. She wears a satin and lace dress and carries a white rose bouquet. Her head piece has white flowers and a tulle veil.

Small Stuff is an unusual 14″ girl doll with big pouty cheeks, a tiny red mouth, and blonde or brunette hair rooted on the top of her head only. The rest of her “hair” is just painted on. She wears a red and white print dress with a white bib, trimmed with white lace and black rickrack. She wears black stockings and shoes and has a straw hat with red ribbon. She probably came in other outfits as well. Both black and white versions of Small Stuff were made. Marked 1960.

Ricki has wild orange hair in two braids, a big goofy smile and freckles. I suspect she is meant to resemble Pippi Longstocking. She wears a strange outfit that is half plain white fabric, and half red-and-white check (stitched together down the middle).

Miss Renee is a 19″ glamour doll marked 14R, similar to Ideal’s Revlon Doll. A 10.5″ version was also sold to compete with Little Miss Revlon.

Raggedy Ann ventriloquist dummy by Jolly Toys Raggedy Ann ventriloquist dummy by Jolly Toys Raggedy Ann and Andy Ventriloquist dummies were made in 1973. They are 29″ tall and have plastic shoulder heads and hands with foam rubber bodies. There is a pull string at the back of the neck to make the movable jaw open and close.
Photos courtesy of Paul Muhlbach. Check out his eBay listings.

Wonder Skin Baby Doll was advertised in 1947.

The company also made a 24″ black girl doll with frosted hair; an “Eskimo” doll dressed in fur; a 24″ glamour doll with blue hair; 30″ and larger companion dolls; and an infant knockoff of American Character’s Baby Dear.



Copyright 1997-2014 by Zendelle Bouchard.

Aug 272012
 
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1950 Hard plastic Cinderella uses the Margaret face mold. Photo courtesy of Lisa Hanson.

Beatrice Alexander Behrman, or “Madame Alexander,” as she became known,
grew up in the doll business. As the daughter of Maurice Alexander, a Russian immigrant who opened the first doll hospital in this country in 1895, she learned to appreciate the beauty of dolls from her early years. Her father’s teachings stayed with her into adulthood, and seeking a professional and artistic challenge, she founded the Alexander Doll Co., Inc., in the 1920’s. She went on to become the leading lady of the doll industry as she guided a company famous for the beauty and high quality of its dolls and their clothing.

Early Alexander dolls were cloth and composition. They had big hits in the 1930’s with their licensed Dionne Quintuplets and Sonja Henie composition dolls. During this period they also introduced characters from literature, including the Little Women series and McGuffey Ana. In the late ’40s, they turned to hard plastic and their Margaret and Maggie face dolls were the epitome of the well-dressed little girl. The 8″ Alexander-kins were introduced in 1953. Baby dolls such as Little Genius were produced in several sizes.

From the very beginning, Madame Alexander focused on producing the highest quality, most beautiful doll clothing in the world. The same molds were used over and over again, with the costume and hairstyling creating the character of the doll.

Alexander initiated the modern era of the fashion doll with the introduction of Cissy in 1955. In the company’s catalog for that year, Madame describes her as “A Child’s Dream Come True.” Elise, a doll with jointed ankles to enable her to wear low or high heels, was introduced in 1957, and in 1959, 10″ Cissette joined her “big sisters” as Alexander’s newest fashionable lady. All of these dolls had extensive lines of extra clothing and accessories which could be purchased.

In addition to the fashionable ladies, Alexander produced some of their most enduring child dolls in the 1950s. Baby Kathy was produced in several sizes, and little girl Kelly was dressed in beautiful, classic styles. The Little Women dolls that had always been big sellers for Alexander got an update with the introduction of pre-teen Lissy.


Marybel, the Doll Who Gets Well by Madame Alexander

Marybel, the Doll Who Gets Well utilized the Kelly face. Scan from 1963 Sears Toy Book.

In the 1960s, Alexander introduced a number of new dolls with unique head molds, including Brenda Starr, a slim teen fashion doll to compete with Mattel’s Barbie, and Coco, a new 20″ high fashion doll. While these dolls had a fairly short production run, the company also introduced some new faces which would become classics in their line. The 21″ Jacqueline doll was one of these. Initially a representation of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, the mold was later used for the Portrait Series of lady dolls which were produced for decades. 14″ Mary Ann and 12″ Janie, both little girl dolls, became mainstays of the company’s line as well.

Also in the 1960s, the International Series using the 8″ Alexander-kins molds were introduced. They have become Alexander’s most popular line, and are still being manufactured today.


Netherlands Boy and Girl by Madame Alexander

8″ Netherlands Girl and Boy, 1980s.

The 1970s and ’80s saw Alexander staying the course, with few innovations, producing the beloved babies and children, characters from classic literature, and ladies in Portrait gowns that had always done well for them. After Madame’s death in 1990, the company went through a challenging period. They were the last of the major doll manufacturers still located in the United States, and having difficulty competing for collectors’ dollars. In 1995 the company was sold to an international banking group and production began to be moved overseas.

Today the Alexander Doll Company is going strong, producing high-quality play dolls for children, and several lines for collectors, as well as reproductions of their best-loved dolls of yesteryear.

See also:



Copyright 2012-14 by Zendelle Bouchard